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Making a 10-day commitment to kindness

Matt Collamer
Matt Collamer

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and believe it or not, this could be your best Thanksgiving in a long time.

One of the keys to your experience next week will be the degree to which you express kindness to others. In fact, your personal kindness, or lack thereof, could literally make or break your entire Thanksgiving weekend.

Imagine making a 10-day commitment to being exceptionally kind to everyone you encounter over the next week and a half. You could begin your commitment to kindness on Friday, November 17, and wrap up your kindness campaign on Sunday, November 26. And when the campaign is complete, you may find yourself motivated to continue this intentional focus on kindness.

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Can you picture yourself expressing genuine kindness to each relative you encounter this Thanksgiving? Would they be surprised by your actions, or have they come to expect such gracious behavior from you? Do they get the sense that you are a friendly person or more of a grouch? If they were to rate your level of kindness, what score would they give you?

Imagine how good your family members will feel if you express warmth and concern for each one of them next week. A deliberate decision to be kind for 10 straight days could give you a jump-start to experiencing a joyful Christmas this year. 

If you are a follower of Christ, 10 days of kindness will not only please your family, but more importantly, it will please your Lord. God loves to see His children express kindness, especially after all the kindness our Savior has given us by forgiving our sins and welcoming us into His family.

The holidays can be especially difficult for family members who have been holding a grudge. Have you been disappointed by anyone in your family who has treated you badly? If so, the grace of God can deliver you from any grudge you may be holding. God’s Word instructs us: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

If you have been harboring a grudge, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to ask God to forgive you and to cleanse your heart of bitterness and resentment. And may I suggest one other thing? You could begin to pray for anyone in your family who has gotten under your skin. You will be amazed at how praying for that person begins to change your heart toward them. Praying for someone is perhaps the greatest act of kindness you could ever give a person.

If you are an unbeliever, you might wonder whether or not a 10-day commitment to kindness could benefit your soul. We naturally tend to assume that our goodness and kindness to others is what leads God to accept us and forgive us. But nothing could be further from the truth. A person’s kind behavior cannot cleanse their soul.

In fact, you could make a 10,000-day commitment to kindness, but it would still not have the power to wash away even one of your sins. The blood of Jesus is the only thing with that kind of power, and this spiritual cleansing occurs when a person trusts Jesus as Savior. 

“When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy” (Titus 3:4).

While man cannot work his way into Heaven by being kind, a Christian’s kindness reflects the love of Jesus and draws others to the Savior. Make no mistake about it: Followers of Christ are called to be kind. It is a vital part of our life of discipleship. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…” (Galatians 5:22).

A 10-day commitment to kindness may be just what you need to start moving in the right direction, whether you are a believer or not. If you are a believer, it could greatly refresh your soul and your relationships with family, friends and co-workers. 

And if you are an unbeliever, you will hopefully discover that no matter how hard you try to be kind, you still have the underlying issue of your own selfishness. But don’t worry. You are not alone in this regard. Christians also experience problems whenever we give into selfishness and unkindness. You see, Christians are not perfect, but we are forgiven. And unbelievers are not perfect, but they too are in need of Christ’s grace and forgiveness.

Will you consider making a 10-day commitment to kindness? If nothing else, it could drastically improve your family dynamics and personal interactions on Thanksgiving. And in the best-case scenario, it could help you realize how much you need Christ to forgive you for the many times you have been unkind to others. If you receive God’s free gift of salvation this Thanksgiving, your life will be changed forever.

Thankfully, you have nothing to lose by being kind for the next 10 days, other than resentment, agitation and frustration with certain family members who may have gotten under your skin. A 10-day commitment to kindness would certainly benefit your family in the short term. And who knows? It might even lead to bigger changes in your heart and life in the long run.

So, why you don’t try thanking God for your individual family members over the next week in preparation for the time you will spend with them on Thanksgiving? If you start praying for them immediately, you will gain a healthier attitude and a better perspective. After all, who wants to have a bad attitude and feelings of resentment on Thanksgiving?

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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